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PJ Online | News: Irish post-deregulation review to curb monopolies

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 269 No 7225 p732
23 November 2002

This article

News summary

Irish post-deregulation review to curb monopolies

Measures to curb the growth of monopolies in pharmacy in the Irish Republic are likely to be recommended by a review group currently drafting a new regulatory system in the aftermath of market liberalisation.

The group, which is due to report to Health Minister Micheal Martin before the end of the year, is understood to be considering capping the number of pharmacies which can be operated by any one company. It is believed that any one company will also be limited to 10 per cent of pharmacy contracts in each health board area.

The Republic's pharmacy sector is currently dominated by Gehe, which has some 50 outlets following its delayed takeover of the Unicare chain last summer. Because the proposed capping will not be introduced retrospectively, Gehe's position as market leader will not be directly affected.

The group is also expected to recommend that pharmacy contracts be reviewed on a periodic basis and that the transferring of contracts be banned. It will also voice opposition to the locating of pharmacies within doctors' surgeries, on the grounds that so-called one-stop-shops represent unfair competition.

The minister is expected to include most, if not all, of the recommendations in new legislation that will go before the Irish parliament early next year.

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